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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 14, 2009 9:00pm-9:30pm EDT

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grade class, and the election that changed their lives forever. just ask the obvious question. ms. cahill, how does the divorced mother of three children know house, two bedrooms, one bath. two or three jobs. one cocktail waitress in. you sometimes get home -- got home at two, 94:00. extracurricular activities for students. >> yes. >> how does such a woman decides to run for of all things congress? i wasn't old enough.
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so. >> you went down to senators. >> we did. they might surrender. they wanted to know if we could run for the supreme court. then they wanted a senate pro tem and speaker of the house. they just much right on down. yes, they did. >> finally got to the bottom. those of us in the house of representatives. >> they felt it needed to be something important. the federal race. they wanted to be in washington d.c. and so i'm sure they didn't think it was the bottom of the barrel. they thought that was pretty big stuff. >> now, you understand that we are talking about a real campaign. this is not a school project. you were constantly asked if it was a real campaign. >> sure. we had to defend that quite a lot. >> real. >> yes. you're still unsteady. yes. he told them they can do it.
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doing what they ask you if you would do. but did it really awaken something in you that may have been dormant all the time to mecca. >> maybe. you know, i feel my parents are fairly politically active. barely outspoken about their politics. taught us to have a conscience and the vault and settlement of votes and to be participatory citizens. you know, what a great opportunity to really be a public servant. i already felt like i was a public servant as a teacher. >> you were. >> i just felt taking it on to that next level, really serving my community. i was out campaigning and meeting my constituents and the people and the communities that had visited. i really felt and wanted to help. >> well, it turns out that you didn't start out to be a teacher. i was very interested to read about your early life. you are the daughter of an engineer and a father who did
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not try to keep you from professions like this. taught you how to the. >> work on cars. >> yeah. >> be an athlete. the kinds of things that guys do. your father. your mother. describe how you came to be a teacher rather than something you had also toyed with being, a civil-rights lawyer. >> yes. i was dead set on being a civil-rights lawyer. i had taken a class at the university of new mexico. it was african american history wind. i was so addicted to it because i always love history. left political science. i remember challenging my professor and saying, you know, every history book i have read lied to me or you are telling the truth. i can't believe i've never heard any of this before. the kind of difficult.
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where did you grow up? where did you grow up? reno nevada. and i was in predominantly caucasian and middle-class schools. black history to me was martin luther king. that is said. >> the beginning of the end. >> that was pretty much it. i found a new frontier in african-american history. i was very, very excited about it. tick every class i could. got a minor in african-american history. >> civil-rights law, i take it. >> yes. very, very interested in pursuing a degree in civil rights. went back to that and told them. >> why are you doing this to back and i told him about discrimination and intolerance and haven't bothered me deeply and i wanted to go out and make that my life's work. he said okay.
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all right. obviously you don't care about money. you're never going to make any money. >> that's really not my motivation. i want to give back. of what to do something that is important for my country. he was the one he said why don't you think about teaching. nothing wrong with being a lawyer. there are a lot of them. goodness knows there are plenty of hundred lawyers out there. knowing you you will end up taking on the pro bono cases. they would appeal. really you are being reactive to the situation instead of proactive. if you really want to be proactive you're going to have to rub work. how many kids you can impact. >> so you were going to impact people's lives one way or the other. watch out. don't think you know her. so he says think about being a teacher. >> that's what we call it. you could have been anything you
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wanted to be. and civil rights law. instead he says be a teacher. so you decide to be a teacher. it looks like your students are going to propel you. but the way, i'd like this. your good advice from your professors as i continued to be a law professor. i have never been in the habit of saying, you really ought to go into law. indeed, my favorite joke is we have been over lawyers since thomas jefferson. we do need teachers. you are going. but first let me explore a little bit more about this campaign. i was intrigued to. i have always felt that judges can hardly prove to themselves
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entirely of there political instincts. their souls. i wish you would talk about this advice. apparently the only real adviser of the than the students. >> right. >> wow, i don't know that i should use his name. >> i'm not asking his name. >> you know, the judges carbide's the elected. there are political animals. he has been involved deeply with the democratic party. of course had to step away from that one to become a jet. i know he kept his eye on that. his wife was of middle school teacher. of course he had heard about me. he wanted to meet with me to see how. he said he needed to let me in the eye to see if i really was willing to take on what it was going to muster out of myself and if i was prepared for that.
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and so he was really trying to assure me up and see what i was made of, i suppose. but he was just really a great guy. we met sort of incognito. i remember thinking that this is really not. he had the hat and the rate cut. he sat next to me in this little diner that is known. tim kelly's nugget. the back of this casino. five barstools. really horrible hamburgers. they are called awful offals and they are wonderful. i just felt like -- he said i need to know what you have done. he talked through what kind of things you have prepared for this. of course i've really had very little knowledge about the inner workings of the party or the process itself. learning on the go.
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finally i think he was a little discouraged that i didn't know as much as he hoped the new. he sent me out in the direction to go be people that could help me. very beneficial to me. he told me to go meet with our attorney general who is a great female role model in our state. another verdict connected people. connecting me with events. >> we will get to the party in a moment. interesting points. let's get to these kids. these kids really running the campaign. >> yes, ma'am. >> no desire to do it. that was the condition in which i agree to take this on. you guys will run the campaign. and i felt like this is the perfect opportunity for real world learning, which is what we talk about all the time in
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making things message to kids. have them be the stakeholders. and it works. they were 12 year old genie says as far as taking this and running with that. >> and we will get, in a moment, to how you were able to make this work. now, that means that the parents went with you to events. >> yes. >> and you had no of this? >> no. myself and 286 gears. >> 286th graders. there were actually two glasses. >> right. it went over 14 months. when one group left a picked up the next. we went on. >> now, we are going to save this for the royal and. just how many?
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the real campaign we are talking about. and whenever you're thinking may not turn out to be the case. i would like to know how much difference is having kids manage a campaign make? into want to ask you a question about what drawbacks may have been to back now, i recall. taking campaigns. what about your kids? how you're able to approach. you are an unknown. did you have to spend time simply convincing them? >> not really. in a way that we certainly didn't anticipate it was a huge benefit because the press was enamored with these children. they were just in love with them. they left coming to our classroom and shooting and
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interviewing and filming and interviewing kids out in the hallways are talking about the process. that was really our goal, to stick to the process. not getting into party politics. coming hard democrats. very conservative. i had to really be careful and be very diligent about focusing on how to run for office and how that process works. the kids were, you know, so good and charming with the press and so articulate that they just became darlings. so in many ways people do who will report. the guys on tv or heard you on the radio. that is so wonderful. we wish more normal people would run. we didn't have to do a lot. about the people already had seen as and heard about us. >> now this district. politically describe the district and the area
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encompasses. >> sure. the congressional. when i ran it was 2000. we had to congress people. getting our third. >> this is because nevada is one of the fastest-growing states in the country. >> that is correct. very, very large. it goes all the way from oregon and idaho all the way down to north las vegas. >> how many people in the district? >> oh, goodness. >> probably more now. >> at that time district one which is metropolitan. metropolitan clark county, los vegas, the largest population center. a very rural. very much branching. >> the rent. >> yes. the largest metropolitan area probably would have been -- if you didn't count north las vegas it would have been the reno. in carson city.
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>> did you have all of reno? >> oh, yes. >> is it fair to call this of fairly conservative district? >> very conservative. seventeen counties in our state. the only one that traditionally goes blue is clark county, which is vegas. the rest to vitiligo read. i'm proud to say this last election. it has made as a swing state for a number of election cycles. >> it is now represented by a republican. >> has been a republican for a long, long time. >> one of my colleagues is of representative. now, i do want our audience to know that if you have any sense of reading for fun or if you are a teacher or if you have any interest in education or in children or in politics you will
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want this book. now you just heard how do it was to have these people who were your campaign is with you. i was impressed by the honesty of this book. this is where you also said later on your opponent at the time do is now the governor of the state. >> says. tease our governor. >> crafty enough not to a attack ms. cahill and her cute little volunteers. and here is ms. cahill in frustration, if i could read. his ginger response was surely politically motivated, but while a campaign spearheaded by students made it very hard for people to attack you it became a double-edged sword because it was also hard to get anyone to discuss the issues. i am a serious dent in it, i've
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wanted to say. but it was hard to get the press to focus on a much more than help you to our campaign was. and cuteness was not going to win this race. why don't you describe that description. >> well, there was of the bull of frustration. we made it through the primary, which i have to say it was a surprise. i never anticipated making it through the primary. gentlemen we ran against. add to know him. the democratic mecca. he will win this. >> system moment. was he supported by the party at all? >> that's correct. >> belt, he beat him by how much? >> you know, honestly that morning when i woke up and read the paper i was in such shock that i had one. i later heard that it was some technicality. he was a felon and was not allowed to go forward.
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so that was news to me. i certainly hadn't been told that. i was just trying to be the best attended a debate. let the chips fall where they make. let's deal with whatever happens. but i was certainly shocked to have won that primary and then to have to head off into that general and realize i am the democratic candidate. >> get ready. >> yes. and it was something i really wasn't prepared for. i had numerous organizations asking me to come speak. you're a recanted. we want you at this event. that was the expectation. now i really had to shift gears from practicing on the process allowed to being the candidate for the general election. it was hard to get much attention beyond the fact that the six red ties had started this campaign and was running it because certainly that was the cutesy factor that swarmed in the media. was a benefit, but it did make it hard to talk about issues
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like education. at least in nevada. they really weren't taking it seriously. >> what you wished for. you sure got it. and i think people would be interested. this is as serious teacher. somebody who thinks about teaching. for him teaching is not just out to this until i can do something else. and i want to question you about your view of teaching. you say in the book instead of helping build strong, effective citizens by figuring out all they learned we are trying to find out what they haven't and instead of measuring comprehension and growth all too often these tests included tricky questions that require students to select the best answers from several partially correct options. aha, got you. that is hard to me. i would much rather find out what they know and teach to
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their strengths rather than try to ferret out their weaknesses. ms. cahill, i have to ask you in the era of much of left behind were there is a certain modicum how do you make sure that these children answer these got you questions and get teats said that they do have a comprehensive? and how did you do that in a campaign and make the campaign part of what is already at difficult learning process for teachers and students in our country in any case? >> well, the campaign. we certainly had a number of other things, a number of areas in our curriculum that we had to get to. when it was meant our it was manpower and we did not do campaign staff. >> he did have to teach?
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>> oh, absolutely. and that was being responsible and making sure that they had been exposed to and could master that curriculum so that they could move on to seventh grade and be where they need to be. so it is completely appropriate. we used our social studies block time to have our campaign meetings. after school and the stance of things. i was very clear with the school district about how i would minute's time and make sure that the children were getting what they needed. i certainly don't own that, but i have heard the talk about. i wish it were called. i don't think testing at child at the end of the year and then saying, they are reading at the sixth grade level, shame on you. the problem there is you don't know where they came in. you don't know how much growth they have had that year. maybe they came in at the second grade level. if they moved up to the fifth grade reading level they have
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grown. that is amazing. but you will know that if you only test them at the end of the year. it's really needs to be very specific, measurable testing. beginning of the year. coming in. and that is what should matter, the growth. very transient state. high turnover in our school. we started with the same group of kids. that has never happened. so when we have all these children that move into our school districts we pick them up. public-school. picking up where you come in and try and move you forward as best we can. every child deserves to have the strength is not too, have their myself talk to. >> how you picked up on their weaknesses. >> wow, suddenly you know what their witnesses are. you don't focus on those so much to where they are not realizing what it is they're good at?
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>> as good at math, but terrible in spelling and english. >> sure. >> how did you teach to map strength? >> and that is the beauty. differentiated instruction looks at all of those banks. helps you teach to the child. you are not teaching curriculum. you're teaching children. >> how many children were in the class? >> twenty-eight. >> does that become difficult? word children transit? you'd describe children differently. how are you able to at give required time to all these kids? >> well, i think good teachers find a way. if that means you stay and eat lunch with kids that need extra attention or after school i ran to during sessions just to make sure they were getting the extra attention. school districts are looking at that. there and looking at longer
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days. making sure kids have more instructional time so that they are getting the services that they need. and certainly it needs to be addressed. you can't just rear good at math. absolutely. i know. we have a moral obligation to make sure we get you up to speed and up to grade level. when kids can't perform and aren't able to graduate from school. nevada has the highest dropout rate in the nation. the way our prison system determines how many prisons cells made is they look at third grade reading scores. they decide tomorrow, my goodness. this many children are not reading at grade level. that is how many prisons cells need. >> they plan ahead. >> that's right. >> just knowing that i still get goose bumps. the way they determine that and projection. it means we have a huge moral obligation to make sure that children can read, write, do
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math, and beat it critical thinkers. that is why testing does not always allow for us to show that child's ability to critical think. >> students who can quickly dank and pass the test. you are something of a workaholic which may tell us something about what a gifted teacher you are. next time i see the president i think i'm going to ask him if he would like to read your book. a lot of what your saying, a lot of what president obama is saying. and i will get to this in a moment. i note that this is a union teacher. this is national education association. we will talk about that. but you see where she is in education. her children come first without forsaking other institutions that have also been important in
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her life and the lives of students. it is interesting how lessons did talk. he seemed to have had a very keen gifted sense, really, of how to teach a lesson out of the clear blue sky. the incidence for example. their is a part of your book in which you talked about what the children are doing in order to decide their logo. their logo is -- the house of representatives. but they decide. this is public. whether to use the democratic label. and there was talk about how, you know, that might keep you from getting to people in the first place. there was a good argument on this side. not using the label. >> on our logo they wanted to,
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so of our t-shirts, you're right. they have the picture in the capitol building. they had democrats. and when a we were sitting at the table and they were presenting ideas for this lobectomy, you know, the debate was if you use democrat there are some people that won't even listen to anything you have to say. there are going to be turned off and there is nothing that you will say that is of value to me and republican. another one said it is important we are honest and not trying to attract voters. we just want them to know who you are and to put you out there and be honest. to me that was -- we talked to our kids about that kind of behavior all the time. be honest and be who you are. i felt that that child has great wisdom and needed to be on it. you know, this is really their campaign. i live with it. it was ethical. they could just send their
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reason to me. i must point to go with that. we put it on our side and our buttons and all of that. we were sorts of advised by the campaigns that we shouldn't have done that. and i said at the we did the right thing. >> this was really a moving part of this book. there was this strategic reason. not for me to say i am from a budget democratic district. there are people who say, i wasn't dishonest. she's not telling a lie. it's just not telling the whole truth. but you allowed the children to reach an answer based on sheer honesty in the middle of a campaign. my hat is off to you. i want to ask you about -- we are going to be sure lead to a break. but you have -- an earlier segment you talked about some of the problems with schools teaching to the test.
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but it is interesting to see how balanced. because he defend schools in another part of the book. i am going to have us wait for just a few minutes to talk about how you do your own defense of schools. we will be back shortly. >> thank you. >> after words and several other c-span programs are available for download as podcasts. more with tierney cahill and washington, d.c. delegate eleanor holmes norton in a moment. >> this summer book tv is asking what are you reading? >> so i am looking forward to my summer reading list. a lot of people think that
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summer is the time for light reading. as far as i am concerned summer is the time to beat the big, heavy bucks. last year right tackle the fountainhead. this year i am looking forward. i tried to read it about 15 years ago and couldn't do it. came up with the new translation which i started on vacation and the fury. chipping away at it. about halfway through. probably on vacation and i'll be able to finish most of it. the new poets a prize-winning novel. by book club picked that one. i am going to finally read manhunt. the link in history. it has been out for a few years now. and a couple other things. he did the story of that your son tell which everyone else in my family has read and read about or america by ethan came in. finally, you know, some light reading is


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